PBS hosted a Presidential Forum last night at Howard University in Washington, DC. It was the first time that Barack Obama's historic Presidential campaign would debate in front of an almost entirely African American audience.
When asked about the disproportionately high rate of HIV/AIDS in young Black Americans, Senator Obama responded in a meaningful way that I hoped would help move this important issue into the public discourse of the African American community.
However, moments later, he reverted back to schoolyard ways and had a complete frat boy moment wherein he felt it necessary to reaffirm his heterosexuality. Senator Biden had just encouraged people to be tested for HIV by giving himself and Senator Obama as examples of public officials who had done so publicly.
Obama couldn't leave well enough alone:
Tavis, Tavis, Tavis, I just got to make clear -- I got tested with Michelle. (Laughter, applause.) When we were in Kenya in Africa. So I don't want any confusion here about what's going on. (Applause continues.)
With one comment, he erased the possibility that he would start a meaningful conversation in the Black community about this serious issue. This seems to reveal not only some level of homophobia, but also a level of immaturity which causes me to question Obama's ability to go all the way in this campaign.
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